Broadcaster CNN Andrew Kaczynski has been accused of “blackmail” following its investigation into the identity of the creator of a controversial gif shared by President Donald Trump.
The gif was first published by a Reddit user last Wednesday, who has since deleted his account.
The hashtag #CNNBlackmail has been tweeted over half a million times since a CNN tracked down the Reddit user and threatened him.
H/T Daily Caller:
CNN sparked a backlash Tuesday night after threatening to identify the Reddit user who claimed to have created a meme of Donald Trump body-slamming the CNN logo that the president later shared on Twitter.
CNN targeted Reddit user ‘HanA**holeSolo’ because he took credit for the video and apparently had a history of making racist and anti-Semitic remarks online.
CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski opted not to identify the user “because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again.”
But Kaczynski then added that “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change,” seemingly indicating that CNN would identify the user if he repeats his “ugly behavior” on social media. That sentence was widely interpreted as a threat. Kaczynski, who disputed that characterization, seemed especially upset that the Reddit user “was someone who shared an image of CNN reporters’ face with Stars of David next them.”
Kaczynski stated that the Reddit user’s public apology came after CNN identified and reached out to him. An email to a CNN spokesperson was not immediately returned.
News aggregator Matt Drudge quickly highlighted the story on his site, the Drudge Report, captioning it: “CNN Declines to ID Because He’s ‘Taken Down All Offending Posts.”‘ (RELATED: Media Horrified After Trump Tweets Video Body-Slamming CNN)
German Lopez on Twitter responded:
Trump tweets a ridiculous Reddit meme. You are CNN. Do you: A) Mock Trump’s idiocy B) Ask why Trump WH is trolling Reddit (/1)
If you answer (C), two more questions. 1) Trump’s tweet wasn’t anti-Semitic or racist. Why would other tweets by Reddit rando matter? (/3)
2) If they do matter, why would an apology to CNN suffice and make his identity no longer newsworthy? (/4)
In other words, the logic here doesn’t hold together, and the whole story reads like a bloated attempt to slap Trump needlessly (/5)
“That’s essentially blackmail. That’s CNN stating that it will out the guy if he dares to defy their political perspective or offends them sufficiently,” wrote conservative commentator Ben Shapiro wrote.
“The whole story is frightening, and obviously an attempt to both nail Trump and discourage people from smacking CNN.”
Others leveled similar criticisms at CNN for the piece, with many using the hashtag #CNNBlackmail, which quickly became the top trending hashtag on Twitter.
Republican congressman Scott Taylor was among those accusing CNN of committing blackmail. “Pretty sure a line is crossed here,” he added.
Here’s those remarks and others from Twitter:
Then came more backlash:
@CNN Stop. Rewind. Go back. Do not threaten to dox people in your articles because, like, I’m a big believer in news media but that’s effed.
Note to CNN: random guy making memes isn’t the story, *the President using those memes* is.
But this threat from you is now the story.
To be clear: A guy has an anonymous account and posts stupid shit. CNN threatens an avalanche of bad publicity if he ever posts again. WOW.
Can someone explain to me why it’s cool for CNN to go hunting down name/ID of a random anon who made a Reddit GIF?
Hey @CNN, got a spicy meme, but should I get your approval before I post? Wouldn’t want you to threaten to dox my family if you don’t.
CNN & @KFILE are threatening to doxx a random guy tho created a gif but go on about brave gatekeepers. This isn’t journalism
When Trump goes low CNN goes lower: threatens to dox artist behind “CNN head” video if he makes fun of them again
Has @CNN made any effort to dox violent Antifas? Yeah, yeah; rhetorical question.
If you missed all the memes or gifs on Twitter, here’s a tribute to #CNNBlackmail:
Nice work CNN!
Can’t wait to see your ratings after this! Or what advertisers are still left – talk about leaning left. Total THUG Journalism all right.
So I guess CNN thinks it’s ok to support a play in a park about Shakespeare with a character portraying Donald Trump murdered on stage – that’s ok, that’s entertainment, but God forbid we have a pro wrestling meme about CNN and Trump. Come on man!